To live life “On Purpose” is to fully utilize your natural gifts and talents to earn necessary income, contribute to your community, and become an active player in the lives of your children and grandchildren. Anyone with a desire to live a more fulfilling, satisfying life at any age can start today by making 5 simple choices.
1. Choose to succeed in your naturally gifted and talented areas.
Most of us were taught that the path to success is to learn a specific set of skills, get a good job using those skills, work in that job for thirty or more years, and then retire from the need for those skills.
But this mindset is needlessly limiting and ignores the opportunity for fulfilling, purposeful work. Why not join the 85% of people working in their area of natural talent who are happy in their work (statistic from “Where Do I Go from Here with My Life” by John Crystal and Richard Bolles).
Look to leaders from the technology industry for examples of people who chose to succeed in their naturally talented areas. Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg all make the list of millionaires who never finished college. Each recognized his own innate ability and had the drive to act on it. Where would we all be today if Steve Jobs had become an accountant like his mother?
Choose to creatively capitalize on your natural gifts and talents. Life is just too short to work for a paycheck alone.
2. Choose a new way of looking at talent.
What comes to mind when you hear the word “talent”? Perhaps you think of entertainers or professional athletes. After all, it’s easy to recognize talent in a powerful singer, a graceful dancer or an outstanding quarterback.
I would like to challenge you to expand the way that you look at talent. There are innate abilities – talents – that lie within each of us that are perhaps more difficult to identify and not widely recognized as talent. This lack of popular appreciation does not diminish the significance or importance of our talents. Choose to recognize and respect your own talents.
3. Choose to identify your own gifts and talents.
So, what are your natural gifts and talents? If that question catches you flat-footed, here are a few ideas to help you sort it all out.
Self reflection is a powerful tool, available to you today, and it is free.
- Reflect on past successes in your life. What talents were you using at the time?
- Think of situations in which your mind works quickly. While I was working as a corporate workshop facilitator, I noticed that I could quickly see patterns in what people were saying. It was easy for me to visualize how individual ideas would come together and how priorities should be set for the organization. Can you recall situations in which you thought significantly faster than the people around you?
- Reflect on your strengths with prompts from the AARP Life Reimagined tool. What does your own intuitive sense tell you about your gifts?
StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a popular skills assessment book that many have personally found to be helpful.
Find more resources on my website.
4. Choose your measurements of success.
What does success look like to you? When I ask this question of people, the typical responses are financial measures of success – a comfortable salary, a nice home, vacations, the ability to pay for a child’s education. These are important measures, but equally important to living a fulfilling life are the non-financial measures of success – the ability to spend quality time with children, grandchildren or parents, a circle of good friends, laughing easily, learning, an appreciation for the blessings of everyday life.
The measurements of success you choose set your priorities. Your priorities shape the way you spend your time. The way you spend your time determines your fulfillment and satisfaction with life. Choose wisely and you will not be disappointed.
5. Choose to live outside the land of comparisons.
How good are you at playing golf? At first blush, this seems like a simple question. “Pretty good!” you might think to yourself. But then you may start to wonder how good I am at playing golf. You might feel the need to measure your golf talents relative to mine. You might even be tempted to say something like “not bad, but I could be better.”
Then think of Tiger Woods, indisputably a great golfer. All of a sudden, your confidence in your talents has diminished.
Your first instinct was right. You are a pretty good golfer! And I’m also willing to bet that you have talents and gifts that neither Tiger Woods nor I possess. There is room in the world for all of us to be amazing. Tiger Woods is great at golf AND you are amazing at your own thing.
Choose to live outside the self-esteem crushing world of comparisons. Appreciate your natural gifts and talents for what they are – your own and totally unique to you.
Stop now and reflect.
Would you like more fulfillment and satisfaction in your life?
Do some of these choices resonate with you?
Which choices do you need to make in order to move forward?